The Allied Forces in Gorizia

After the war, the synagogue of Gorizia was reopened thanks in part to the help of Jewish allied soldiers with the US Army’s 88th Infantry Division, stationed in the city.


1946 Army Day Parade of the US 88th Infantry Division in Gorizia
© Courtesy of Gruppo di Ricerca Storica “Isonzo”

In particular, the military chaplain and rabbi, Captain Nathan A. Barack (1914-1999), advocated the reorganization of the Jewish community and supported public events. As reported in 1978 by Marcello Morpurgo (1919-2012), a prominent member of the local Jewish community, for Hannukah (30 November-7 December) the Americans organized a big dance party in the former Sala Littorio, decorated for the occasion with a huge Hanukkah painted by Tullio Crali (1910-2000), a Futurist artist suspected to be a collaborationist.

GO_parade_1946         GO_Barack
1946 Army Day Parade of the 88th Infantry Division in Gorizia
(also published in “The Stars and Stripes”, 11 April 1946, p. 5)
© Courtesy of Gruppo di Ricerca Storica “Isonzo”
Photograph of Nathan A. Barack, late 1950s

"It was a remarkable event, attended by many soldiers and civilians united in celebrating the Feast of Lights, almost as if to solemnize the end of the darkness of the barbarism from which they had just emerged”. And for the Seder of Passover (15 April 1946), Marcello Morpurgo recounted how “the theatre hall in the former Casa del Balilla was chosen as a venue. Another former Fascist headquarters hosted a Jewish event. Rabbi Barack had the history of the exodus from Egypt written in English, on large posters, alternating with reproductions taken from Haggadoth; all to be placed on the balustrade of the gallery. German war prisoners were used to clean the room and set the table for dinner. One could see former German soldiers peeling potatoes under the supervision of Jewish civilians. After the terrible tragedy, small rejoicing, caused by historical nemesis”.